Solidarity by Imam Kashif Abdul Karim
Preached at Faith on December 27, 2015
With G-ds Name, The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer
As Salaam Alaikum RWB: Definition
We are told by God that “surely man shall travel from stage to stage.” Meaning that humanity will go through periods of transition and change. We will go through an evolution of growth.We are also told that God has made us into “nation and tribes so that we will know one another.”
So as a people, God has created us all as the children of Adam, in the way of universal brotherhood. But we have also been made different, with the hope that we will learn from each other, and in doing so develop all of humanity in a way that is pleasing and satisfying to our creator.
God wants us to develop as a society that is productive and just. For this reason, we understand that God has obligated all of us to establish justice. God tells us “to strive as in a Race (healthy Competition) towards all that is good” 5:48
“if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has bestowed unto you. Compete, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that in which you differed.”
So God could have made us all Jews or Christians or Muslims. He could have made us all black or white or indo-Pak etc., but he has chosen to make us different so he could test us with what he has given us. He has given you the Torah and Gospel to see what you’re going to do with it. He has given Muslims the Gospel and the Qur’an to see what we’re going to do with it. We all say we have the best, we have the truth, but God wants to see what we’re going to do with it.
We must collectively stand up for right, stand up for justice, even if it’s against our own selves.
So regardless of our differences God has made us more similar than different. We are human first and one universal family that all wants education for our kids, equal opportunity, good jobs, healthy lives and of course universal healthcare. We all want an end to racism, police brutality, and discrimination. An end to disproportionate black incarceration, an end to poverty, an end to housing discrimination. The list goes on and on with the struggles we could be facing together.
Any oppression that stops the growth of the human family must be confronted regardless if we call ourselves Christians, Muslims or Jews. We must stand collectively against oppression in whatever form it approached us.
As a people of faith and as a people of color in particular we have always stood together to fight oppression, and the common wrong.
The old testament and the Gospel all teach us that all the prophets brought liberation and freedom. We know the struggle of Moses and how he took on the undefeatable pharaoh, we know how David defeated Goliath, we know how Joseph overcame the prison, and all the oppression of the land even the oppression that came from his own brothers.
These are the same challenges we face today. We think the giants in our society can’t be defeated, although we call them the 1 percent and wall street, yet we sing “and the wall came tumbling down”. We think modern day Egypt is too big and powerful to be made righteous. We accept wrong and sins throughout our communities even when we know it’s wrong. We know stores selling pornography, cities promoting prostitution liquor stores on every block of our community, and the legalization of drugs is wrong but we think we can’t take on modern day Egypt and say no to sin. For many of our people unlike Joseph we let the prison the industrial prison complex take control of our lives and our future. And like Joseph
we have to be careful not to allow ourselves to be our greatest enemy. It is also unfortunate that Joseph biggest enemy was his own brothers, and we find too that often our biggest enemies are those closest to us.
In the Qur’an we also see how we stood against oppression, especially people of color. The first person to die for the establishment of Islam was a black woman named Samiya. She took a spear through her heart because she would not denounce the one God of Abraham and Muhammad. She was the first martyr in Islam because she refused to believe in the 365 gods believed in during this time period. When the Muslims were trying to escape persecution from the idol worshippers of Mecca it was the prophet Muhammad’s decision to send his people to the Ethiopian Christian King Negus because he believed the Muslim and the Christians stood on the same principles. When the Meccans tried to take back the Muslims from Ethiopia the Cristian king listened to the arguments of the Meccans and the Muslims. The Muslims spoke from the Qur’an about the birth of Christ Jesus. Tears came to the eyes of the king and he said the difference between you and I are as small as the line he drew on the ground. The Ethiopian Christian King protected the Muslim Community, He said not for a mountain of gold would return them to you. So the original establishment of Islam was supported and protected by the African Christians.
Throughout history people of faith have come together to fight common oppression. Upon arrival to America as slaves the Muslims and people of faith stood together against the oppressor. 33 percent of the slaves who came from Africa were Muslim. Taken from Muslim Lands. They could read and write and some even could do math. Some were brighter than the slave masters. History wants to record us as illiterates which is a lie, we just spoke a different language and our writing was called chicken scratch. The most famous Muslim on the plantation you perhaps know was Kunta Kinte.
Kunta Kinte fought the oppressor to maintain his name and cultural identity. He was whipped to almost death until he accepted the name Toby. He taught the importance of cultural preservation to the plantation. He consistently ran away. He refused to be a slave. He taught the value of freedom. The others slaves would often ask him “what freedom be like Kunta, it must be something special.”
During this period of slavery a false version of Christianity was used as a tool to justify slavery. It was the same tool used by the KKK to justify the lynching of Thousands of Black People throughout America. It was the same form of Christianity used by Hitler to justify the holocaust, it was the same ideology that was used to justify apartheid in South Africa. A false form of Christianity was being used to justify the wrongs and racism in our society. It was however the black church that took a stand against this false doctrine. The civil rights movement brought forth leaders to denounce this radicalization of Christianity and turn the doctrine of oppression to a teaching of liberation. It was Christians leaders like Martin Luther king Jr, Meager Evers, and other who used the scriptures to bring about Liberation.
It was during this period that Muslims as well as Christians took a stand against the false images of Jesus, the prophets, and the angels. We collectively started a campaign to remove all images of an all-white heaven, all-white angels, and a blonde blue eyed Jesus. We lead the charge together to create the understanding that all of the prophets are from Africa or lands where the people are of color.
In the 60s Muslims and Christians lead the campaign to eradicate racism in America. People of faith were in the forefront. Martin Luther King for the Christians and Malcolm X for the Muslims. Although there were differences in the approach the goals were the same. People of faith forced Americans to look at themselves and to change the laws of the land.
Today it appears as though the people of faith have become quiet. We were the voice of America and today we are timid, too busy. the reasons for not doing goes on and on.
God tells us “Not Equal are those who stay at home and gain no hurt and those who strive in the cause of G-d.”
Today we have the same enemy. Satan remains our Avowed enemy.
We still face racism. police brutality, and more. We see the black lives matter movement growing every day. Together we stand in the fight against this unjust system.
At the same time, we see Islam now being persecuted the same way Christianity was misinterpreted in the past. The problems were not with Christianity the problem was with people. We cannot blame Christianity for Slavery, Jim Crowism, The KKK, Hitler, and South Africa, just as we cannot blame the Qur’an, Islam or the prophet for terrorism.
Our elected officials want to deny Muslims from entering the country because they may be with ISIS. Statistically the odds of a Muslim being a member of ISIS is 1 out of 106000. Yet all Muslims are being penalized for what the one person might be. Our elected officials want Muslims to be tested to see if they have Christian American values. The irony is that the constitution of America will not allow these ideas to come into practice. We also understand that Freedom of Religion is a primary foundation in America. This is not a Christian country but a country of religious diversity.
One presidential candidate wants Congress to declare war on ISIS. Again this is not permitted by the constitution because ISIS is not a state. The lack of understanding of basic Constitutional law is amazing, especially when the first act of the president of the United States is to uphold the constitution of the United States.
The Propaganda machine is creating an environment of Hate. We saw this in the south when Blacks were being lynched for the potential of what they might be. Muslims around the country are receiving death threats, mosques are being shot up in Connecticut. I have received calls calling me a pedophile and calls from people telling me they have had direct conversations with Allah, and we are wrong in the things we’re doing. Muslim Taxi drivers have been killed. Pig heads have been thrown on Mosque steps. The Climate for Many Muslims are a climate of Fear.
Some women are afraid to wear their hair covering in public while some men are shaving their beards. This is the same kind of fear African Americans had in certain places of the south. The rhetoric of Trump is creating an environment of Hate. They are coming from the voice of a master salesman. He works in three stages. He creates a need for something. Then he promises you something he can’t give you, and then after you have bought it he tells you “there is no refund”.
The biggest fear targeted at Muslims are to put Muslims in a data Base. Data bases in America have been used to round up people. It was used in Germany to kill the Jewish People; it was used in South Africa to develop the apartheid system. It made possible the rounding up of Japanese American Citizens. For African Americans we have been put into Data Bases since we were first recorded as slaves, or as property in America. When the Slave ran away they would use their data bases to return us back to slavery. This was the data base used against African Americans for 400 plus years.
Of course the use of a database goes against American Values but during times of fear, many unheard of things can happen. Especially when we have a congress that wants to do everything they can to destroy the legacy of one of our greatest presidents.
The Irony is that as people of Faith we should not fear a data Base. Because we’re all in a Data base. God’s Data Base. He is recording all of our deeds. Our deeds are being written down in the greatest data Base, Gods book of Deeds. He is judging us based on our actions. He is judging us to see if we’re using the gifts he has blessed us with, for his good.
In our closing let me remind you that we are in the Day of Religion. Every day is a good day for those who are close to God. In The Quran we are given the Verse; “The unbeliever may Plot and Plan but the best of Planners is God.” This should tell us no matter what evil we see in the world God is still God and the victory is promised. During periods of hate we still see our non-Muslim neighbors dropping off roses to our mosques to show their love, we got a letter at our mosque stating the love and solidarity they have for us and to let us know that the majority of people are still good, just quieter. And finally when I received a call from my Pastor (and I hope I’m his Imam) to come share with you today, again his invitation causes us to feel the love and brotherhood people of faith share with one another.
Let us Pray:
Oh God, Creator of the heavens and the earth we ask for your help and your direction, We know no help comes unless it comes from you. We ask you to make us all better people of faith and better Americans. We ask you to let the common good we share to be manifested. We ask you to let us see each other as believers and not just Christian or Muslims. We ask you to let our humanity shine above all things. We ask you to teach us tolerance and patience with those who oppress us. We believe you will bring shame to the oppressor’s hearts as you have done throughout history. We ask you to build unity among us, that we come together not to just talk but to do service for our community. As always we ask you to give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and to protect us from the torment of the fire.